Rand falls 2% to weakest in four years

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The rand fell 2 percent against the dollar yesterday, touching a four-year low as stronger-than-expected US data prompted a greenback rally against emerging market currencies.

The rand, buffeted by heavy selling since the start of the year as investors worry about the prospects for Africa’s largest economy, broke through the R9.10 mark, which opens up its next technical target of R9.21 a dollar, charts show.

The unit hit a session low of R9.15 against the dollar yesterday, its weakest level since mid-April 2009.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R9.1078 to the dollar, 14.84c weaker than Friday. It was the sharpest fall against the dollar in a basket of 20 emerging market currencies tracked by Reuters.

“The US December durable good orders number… was much stronger than expected and it caused a small spike in US treasuries,” said strategist Roderick Ngotho of Royal Bank of Scotland.

“It seems emerging market rates may have reacted the same way, which has caused broad-based emerging market foreign exchange weakness.” – Reuters

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